Tooreen’s hurlers battled hard all throughout this afternoon’s All-Ireland Intermediate hurling semi-final against Naas at Duggan Park in Ballinasloe. In the end, however, the superior firepower of the the Kildare team proved too much, as they prevailed by 0-18 to 0-13 to advance to the All-Ireland final.
Tooreen started this contest brightly. They bagged the opening three points of the game and were in good shape ten minutes in, as they led by 0-4 to 0-1.
But the Kildare champions, who beat opposition from Dublin, Wexford and Kilkenny on their way to the Leinster title, soon began to reel their Western opponents in. By the first water break, the margin between the teams was just a single point and, after Tooreen had pushed two ahead, Naas then reeled off six points without reply to carve out a four-point lead.
Naas led by two, 0-9 to 0-7, at the break. Tooreen had bagged the final two points of that half and they got the first score on the resumption as well, cutting the gap back to the minimum.
That was as good as it got for the Mayo lads, though, as Naas once again upped the ante. With sharpshooter Jack Sheridan – who ended the day with a personal tally of nine points – to the fore, Naas had widened their lead to four points at the second water break.
Try as they might, it was a gap Tooreen simply couldn’t bridge coming down the closing stretch. They needed a goal to re-ignite their hopes but, with both defences making life difficult for the attackers, this wasn’t a game that looked like it would yield a green flag for either team.
So it proved. Naas were able to find the range often enough to keep the scoreboard ticking over and were full value for their five-point win.
Commiserations to Tooreen on today’s loss. They fought on till the better end but it just wasn’t to be. They can, though, take pride in another campaign in which they’ve done their club and their county proud.